A budget is not limited to managing personal finances only. Having a family budget can be a good way to keep tabs on recurrent bills and expenditures within the house. Keeping track of family finances can be a bit hectic especially when there are arbitrary expenses from time to time.

With a budget, you can find ways to rein in on unnecessary expenses and look for ways to make adjustments so that you avoid financial stress and live within your means. It can even a secure financial future for the whole family.

The trick is to make a budget and stick to it. You can do it in the following ways:

Track your money

This is best done on a monthly basis. There are budget templates you can download to help you with this. List all the sources of your income and find the total income for the household in a given month. On a separate column, list all your expenses including grocery and utility bills, fuel expenses, debt repayments, all the subscriptions, gifts and the number of times you eat out and join friends at the bar for drinks.

Like in personal finance, it is unsustainable to have your expenses outweigh your earnings. Should this be the case then you should cut off some expenses in order to live within your means and have some money set aside for a rainy day.

Remember budgeting is a process. The purpose of a budget is to help you plan your expenses and help you track every dollar you spend to avoid wastage and extravagance.

Look for bargains

Bargains are a great expenses to cut your expenses. While shopping always be on the lookout for discounts. If you are shopping for clothes and you are offered a Hanes Free Sample, take it. You save the money you’d have otherwise spent on a new pair of socks. New brands into the market always have promotions and discount prices while still offering pretty much the same quality as established brands. Take advantage of these offers.

Eat in

Other small tricks that help in keeping your spending on the lower side, is to avoid eating or going out as much. Although these might be fun, in the long-term, they might hurt your pocket and cause you to go over budget. A homecooked meal will cost a fraction of what would otherwise be spent at a restaurant. Another upside is the food left over might be stored and used for another meal.

Also, when going out, it is always wise to carry just the budgeted amount of money and maybe an emergency credit card and ONLY for emergency. While you can go a bit over budget, this should be compensated in another area by cutting down on an activity.

Look for ways to earn extra income

Earning some extra money through a side hustle can help supplement and finance your budget. You can even sell items you no longer have any use for on eBay.